The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

March 17, 2013

Olympic Development Program Water Polo East/West Regional Championships: Making a splash

Spire playing a part in planting seeds of growth for sport

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — A desire to spread the love of water polo to the entire country is one of the big reasons Spire Institute was able to host the Olympic Development Program Water Polo East/West Regional Championships this weekend.

“Part of our mission is to grow the sport,” Jennifer Rottenberg, chief marketing officer for USA Water Polo, said. She said finding new areas to showcase the sport is essential to its development.

It didn’t hurt that Ashley Papenbrock, Olympic Development Events Manager, is from Ohio.

“I am originally from Columbus and I wanted to bring an event to Ohio and I did,” she said with a laugh.

Rottenberg said there are almost 40,000 registered water polo players throughout the United States,  with 30,000 of them — 75 percent, residing in California.

California has its own developmental championships and the rest of the country are broken up into six zones and gather for regional competition where coaches can watch for talent and the girls can learn more skills, Rottenberg said.

Splash Ball has been developed to try and get 5- to 9-year-old children involved in the sport.

“It is kind of tee-ball,” she said of the relaxed rules and ability to sit on a flotation device.

The final destination for many of these young athletes is the selective national and Olympic teams.

In addition to the need for strength, endurance and size water polo players need to be mentally alert as well.

“You have to see what is happening,” Paperback said.

Many of the participants from Florida and the Southwest got an added bonus for their trip to Northeast Ohio. They were able to experience snow.

“The kids loved the snow,” Jim Boss, director of Acquatics for Spire Institute, said. “The parents; probably not so much.”

While the athletes are honing their skills, future officials are refining their craft, as well, Anne Laurence, Olympic Development Program manager, said. She said officials are watched by senior officials so they can learn from their mistakes.

Coaches are also looking to pick athletes to make a total of 70 girls to participate in a four-day training camp in Southern California in May, Woman Olympic Development Program National Technical Director Kim Everist said.

“There are a number of categories that we are evaluating,” she said.

She said physical attributes, attitude, mental acquity, technical skills and tactical skills are all taken into consideration.

“We engage in a lot of discussion with their coaches,” Everist said.

The final step is a four-day training camp where 28 athletes, in each age group, are tutored and fine-tuned.

The same procedure then starts over as the athlete moves to the next grade, Everist said.

Two teams will be picked for International competition, with one 19-and-under team heading to Greece for the World Junior Nationals and a mixed 17-and-under team heading to Argentina.

Madison Berggren, 16, of Salem, Oregon, said she started playing water polo three years ago when a friend asked her to join the team.

She doesn’t play any other sports now that she has fallen in love with the sport.

“I just do this all the time. I love it,” Berggren said. “I love how centered around team it is.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Danielle Zip-ing along

    Just minutes after Geneva’s Danielle Nicholson holed out on the 18th green at the Gray Course at Ohio State University during her freshman year to win the 2011 Division I state championship, the recruitment process of where she would go to college began.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Maruna headed for Mount

    LeeAnn Maruna never really expected to play collegiate golf. She was so taken aback when the opportunity presented itself, she didn’t know how to respond. After all, the Grand Valley graduate had only been playing the game for a few years.

    July 23, 2014

  • Crate Late Models featured

    The Evergreen Lake Park Campground Crate Late Models, the premier class at Raceway 7, will be featured Friday night as they race for $1,000 to win.

    July 23, 2014

  • Norm He’s the Norm

    In the early part of the 20th century, as golf was taking off in popularity, it was not uncommon for boys to take up the game after becoming caddies.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: The journey is what’s most important

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, you’ve heard over and over and over how it’s been a half-century since one of Cleveland’s big three professional sports teams have won a championship.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Murdick wins as Big Block Modifieds return

    The BRP Big Block Modifed Tour returned to Raceway 7 with 21 of the region’s fastest Modifieds turning out for the scheduled 35-lap event, the first for the Modifieds at the northeast Ohio speedplant since 2005, an event won by Todd Burley.

    July 21, 2014

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Chances for controlled waterfowl hunting

    Waterfowl hunters are invited to participate in special drawings for controlled hunting opportunities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. The drawing dates and times are as follows:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingsville gets it done

    In a rematch of a previous softball clash between the Kingsville 9-10-year-olds and those from Conneaut, Kingsville had settled thing quickly and decisively in a mercy-rule triumph.

    July 20, 2014

  • TD Club golf A Chris Larick column: TD Club hopes to score

    Though its life was never seriously threatened, the Ashtabula County Touchdown Club has suffered in recent years.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Don A Don McCormack column: A heartfelt plea to curb violence

    Like everyone who loves soccer — and the rest of us whose interest level rises dramatically every four years when the World Cup comes around — Kevin Meier was appalled at the recent attack of soccer referee John Bieniewicz in Michigan by a player that resulted in Bieniewicz tragically dying.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video